Kids under 16 are issued U.S. passports that remain valid for 5 years. Renewal is a little different for them than for adults. Technically, they can't renew; they must reapply in person, following the same guidelines as when the passport was first issued. This includes all the same documentation requirements, providing a passport photo that meets the specifications laid out by the Department of State, and accompaniment by parents or legal guardians.

Application Form

To renew a passport, a child under 16 must fill out Form DS-11, which is available to download on the U.S. Department of State website. Complete this application before appearing to renew the passport, but don't sign it until the passport agent instructs it. Children under age 16 must apply in person with both parents or guardians. If the child's previously issued passport isn't available when renewing, submit Form DS-64 to explain why it's missing.

Social Security Number

A renewing minor must provide her Social Security number, and, preferably, a government-issued Social Security card. If a child was never issued a Social Security number, the parents or guardians have to supply a written statement that's signed, dated and includes the affirmation: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: (Child's full name) has never been issued a Social Security Number by the Social Security Administration.”


A renewing minor may present an undamaged passport as identification. Otherwise, the minor can provide the following forms of identification: a certified birth certificate, naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate or a consular report of birth abroad/certification of birth.


When applying for renewal of a passport for a child under 16, the parents or guardians must present proof of the relationship with the child (certified U.S. birth certificate with both parents' names; the child's certified foreign birth certificate or report of birth abroad certificate with both parents' names; the adoption decree with both parents' names; or a signed court order showing custody of the child or establishing guardianship).

Parents or guardians must also show appropriate identification. Any of the following suffice: a U.S. driver's license; an undamaged passport (current or expired); naturalization certificate; or a current government or military ID.

Parents or guardians must appear with the child when applying for a passport and must sign the DS-11 form in front of the passport agent. If both parents/guardians are available, both must appear, or one may appear and bring a signed and notarized DS-11 form for the other parent/guardian. In the case of sole custody, the parent/guardian must follow all of the above requirements and provide proof of sole custody.

Passport Photos

Renewing minors must provide a passport photo. Not just any photo will do, though. The child's full face must be in view, aimed directly at the camera, and showing a neutral expression or natural smile with both eyes open. The photo should be no more than 6 months old and can only have a plain white or off-white background. Its dimensions must measure 2 x 2 inches, with the full head measuring from 1 to 1 3/8 inches. The child should be wearing regular clothing and not wearing any accessories, including glasses. Print in color, on matte or glossy photo-quality paper.